Mid-March I road tripped into Chicago to visit a friend I hadn’t seen in way, way too long. Since we’d last seen each other, we’d become beer snobs or geeks or whatever. He’s also tutoring my adventures into whiskey.
Our Saturday was a beer field trip with two tremendous stops.
We visited the Three Floyds Brew Pub in Munster, Ind. It was St. Patrick’s weekend and the 3F pub wasn’t running any specials. The crowd was thinned by the parade and it was just a pleasant afternoon of fantastic beer.
I tried the Dreadnaught, a wonderful hop monster with a citrus finish, mango and peach were definitely in the mix. Here’s where 3F is really cool. They have other craft brews there. My next pick was a Stone “Old Guardian,” a barleywine that was a little too sweet for my taste.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the scotch eggs — a hard-boiled egg fried in a sausage breading, served with a spicy horseradish and that hot Sriracha sauce. I know these took three years off my life, but if you’ve gotta go, this is the way to go.
Then, it was off to Binny’s Beverage Depot. It’s the size of a Wal-Mart, but it’s full of beer from . . . everywhere. I felt like Dorothy waking up and everything was in color. Allegash White (A- on 733 reviews on BA), Hop Rod (A on 1,097 reviews), the long-sought Old Foghorn , Hopslam (A on 1,174 reviews, from Bell’s) and a few bombers of Dreadnaught and Behemoth (A on 12 reviews), the 3F barleywine offering. Also, picked up an anniversary edition of Talisker.
That night, I eagerly opened one of our purchases, the Dogfish Head 120 IPA (B+ on 1,092). It was an abomination. I applaud Dogfish Head’s creativity and daring, rebel nature, but for me this was a miss — wide right, like out of the stadium wide right. Three sips and I dumped it.
And it wasn’t just me. I offered it to my friends. Both gagged. One wanted to use it to grout the bathroom.
What else have I tried?
The Ballistic IPA (A- on just 16 BeerAdvocate reviews) from Ale Asylum in Madison was terrific. It bent toward the citrus side of hop. The Old Foghorn (B+ on 599 reviews) was warm, not overly hoppy and a full bodied. I bought a six of Torpedo at Benz. Sierra Nevada is criminally underrated. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of their offerings. Torpedo (A- on 647 reviews) was no different — a tart, piney, fruity, peppery IPA with a strong malty backbone. Fabulous.
My mom bought me a six of Belhaven Scottish Ale (B+ on 582 reviews) for my birthday. I’ve come to the conclusion that I just don’t like Scottish ales. But thanks anyways, mom, who, by the way, is a big fan of Keystone Light (don’t ask, we’ve been over and over it).
C’mon, mom. It’s a D- on 270 reviews. If you won’t listen to me, listen to Mudbug on BA: “We left a case of this stuff out in the middle of the Renaissance fair actors camp overnight and it was still there untouched in the morning. That same case became a booby prize at numerous partys and was snuck into unsuspecting folks’ garages when they weren’t home.
It may be in a landfill now, but you might want to check the darkest corner of your garage.”
Mom, get out. The call is coming from inside the house!
PS — If you click the link to the Three Floyds site, check Dark Lord Day 2009. It’s coming up and my friends Brian and Kelly are going. It looks like a Grateful Dead meets beer snob convention. But this Dark Lord stuff sounds like it’d be worth a day of disc golf, hackey sacks and dreadlocks. And yes, I’ve been promised a bomber (A+ on 485 reviews).
Hint, hint, mom!!